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Yesterday our gardens were highlighted at the Residents’ Council meeting.  I began my remarks with this Digital Story.  I thought you might all like to see it.  Here is the link!

 

IMG_6256Daffodils are wonderful when they first pop up out of the ground.  They are among the first flowers to appear in our gardens and they are SO welcome!

IMG_6131When we get to about now…the flowers start drying up; dropping off; and beginning to form seeds.  They are not so pretty any longer!  So, now what do we do?

If you had a meadow’s worth, I’d suggest just leaving them, but we don’t have meadows of daffodils.  Ours definitely do not look grand among the other flowers that are coming into their own now.

So get out those pruners.  Cut each flower stem down as close to the ground as you can.  Don’t leave any unsightly ‘sticks of stems’ poking up.  They are not at all attractive.  BUT  DO NOT CUT OFF THE LEAVES!

The bulbs that you planted need those leaves to generate food for themselves.  They collect sun rays and fresh air. I’m sure you know the leaves are doing this.  You also have to understand that those bulbs are drawing nutrients from the soil, so this is a wonderful time to scratch a little fertilizer (or compost) into the soil around those leaves.  The leaves should stay until they begin to turn brown.  If it bothers you to watch the leaves just sitting there, seemingly doing nothing, notice that some gardeners fold them over and tie them together.  There are even folks who braid the leaves.  It’s a bit “labor intensive”, but it does work.  The garden looks a whole lot neater, and the bulbs continue to get their nutrition!  (This same technique works with other bulbs like tulips and hyacinths.)

Some people figure they’ll let seeds grow and plant them.  Don’t bother!  The seed will suck the life out of the bulb, and it will be years before you get a flower worth your attention.  You will be better off to be rid of the seed (what becomes of the dying flower) and nurture the bulb you have for an even more glorious flower next year, and years following.

When you are done, the spent flowers and stems can be dumped into the compost bins.  It couldn’t be easier!

PEONIES

Today when I walked around our gardens, I saw a number of peonies in various gardens.  BUT, only Drucilla’s had a cage (support) in place.

This is the time to get your peonies supported.

The flower stems which are already forming, are LONG and HEAVY!  They need support, or the first rain will have them lying on the ground.  Then the flowers are so heavy, they never recover to rise again.

If you are unsure of what a support looks like, IMG_6291you can use a tomato cage, or other means of holding those branches up.  Here’s a photo of Drucilla’s peony.

By putting the supports on now, you won’t break the branches.  It allows the plant to grow into and around the cage.  This way you will hardly even be aware that the cage is there.

If you wait until it is larger, you risk breaking the flowering stems or the branches, plus it looks “forced”.

Here is a website I found which gives additional information for peonies in Washington State.  You might find something particularly interesting here.

While I was cruising around, I found Jane doing a little gardening!  Talk about throwing yourself into the task at hand!  GO JANE!IMG_6290

Last week the Garden Committee here at Horizon House had a “field trip” to IMG_6235Swanson’s Nursery to fulfill our GEM Grant.  The gardeners were awarded a bit of “flower candy” as I call it, for the inconvenience they suffered during the renovations to our West Wing.  IMG_6230Not everyone was able to go, but those who did had a good time browsing, buying, eating and

learning.

The Horizon House bus was packed to the gills with plant material.

Not all of it was able to be in the back, so was to be found all over the bus, along with some happy gardeners!

Once we got home, the staff helped us by putting plant materials on the proper decks IMG_6246for the gardeners to plant.

What followed was the planting itself.  Talk about busy bees…  The gardens are now getting full and attractive.  IMG_6249Here’s one I planted.  Now I’ll stand back and watch the magic!

We have been waiting patiently (a relative term) for the trees to be planted in our central planters…  Well, yesterday, they were planted.  I took some photos showing the finished product.  On the C level garden central planters, IMG_6182white, single stem, Crepe Myrtles are now adorning the scene.  On the level D central planters, there are Japanese Maples at each end, and pink, IMG_6189single stem, Crepe Myrtles looking mighty good!

I also took some photos of the planting surfaces, in the central planters themselves.  I did that because quite a few gardeners were concerned that their plants and bulbs would be disturbed.  I think you can see that they were very mindful of our worries.  I feel it all looks wonderful, and I’m so anxious to see it in a few weeks, and better yet, next year!

Do go down and take a look!

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted to this blog.  As you may know, I’m chairman of the Garden Committee here at Horizon House.  The Committee has decided to dedicate the month of June to the Gardens.  That means that I’ve spent the last few weeks tied to the phone and the computer lining up things to happen EVERY day in the gardens here.

We will have parties, talks (Audubon, Organics in the garden and Herbs-growing, harvesting and cooking).  There will be meditations, tours/walks, exercise, and to get us “off campus” two trips to Botanical Gardens here in Seattle area!  I think it will be a lot of fun.

The purpose of this concentration on the Gardens is that we have all (including the gardeners) been kind of locked out of our gardens for almost two years, while there has been construction going on.  IMG_3637Gardens have been dug up and replanted.  Things have died, but been replaced.  Some gardeners have transferred their gardens to others, and a few gardens have been reclaimed by Horizon House, while those gardeners were assigned other beds.  It has been a real brouhaha!

IMG_6128Anyway, we’re sure many people have forgotten that the gardens are even there, and new residents are perhaps unaware of their existence.  IMG_6136SO it’s TIME to re-introduce everyone to the three lovely Garden Levels here at our home!

This past week, I traveled down and took some pictures of life that is emerging after that long sojourn.  I’ve interspersed them here on this page.IMG_6142

This year I went to the show for TWO days!  My son in-law gave me two tickets.  At first I didn’t know what to do with TWO tickets, and he suggested I either invite a friend or go on  two days!  DUH!!!

I chose the two days because I tend to be a “loner” at things like this.  I hate to wait around for someone else to finish looking when I’m ready to move on.  Not only  that, I’m a “Seminar” kind of gal.  I’d prefer to just look around at the displays quickly; img_6075check img_6071out all the things for sale; and then head for the Seminar rooms to learn something new and see some pretty spectacular gardening photography!  So, that sounded like a great idea.  I did it, and I’m so very glad!  I had two days of seminars, as well as checking out the displays.  I attended 7 in all, and learned a LOT!img_6070

Walking into the venue has the usual effect.  Scents of Spring and color enough to blow your socks off.  The exhibits were lovely, as usual.  Even little children find them attractive!

I went to a number of seminars about Succulents.  I have chosen to make my little garden here at Horizon House an “easy care” garden, and I chose to do that with various pots filled with  SUCCULENTS! *img_5597.jpg In these classes however, I learned that I wasn’t exactly doing it correctly.  Right now everything is growing properly, but according to the “gurus” it probably won’t last that way.  So, it’s back to the drawing board for me.img_6076

I need more sand and some gravel.  That might be a bit tricky, but I’m up to the challenge.  I have to remember that someday, someone else may garden my little plot, and they may prefer not to have gravel!  (Gravel is a nightmare to remove.)  img_6077Of course, the reason I’ve chosen pots is that the soil is root-bound from a neighboring tree.  There will be no cutting back of those roots, because the tree is going to STAY!  SO, the pots will have to have some sand and gravel added.  I’m  not in any huge rush.  It will wait until the weather is cooperative, to say nothing of my body!

Which brings up another seminar I attended about “Adaptive Gardening”.  This is a topic I am pretty conversant with.  I edited a book on this topic awhile back.  It ended up never going to print because the publisher ran into rough waters…but I learned a lot.  Perhaps this is a topic I should give a little talk about here at Horizon House.  Maybe in June, which the Garden Committee has dubbed “Garden Month at Horizon House”.

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